By Mike Peake
A wet and windy run down through the lovely green lanes of Wiltshire ensued - all rather uneventfully. We did get a call from Gar though. After his antics on the last tour, I was expecting a fuel requirement, but no. He needed another “facilities break”, so we stopped at the next petrol station. It didn’t have a customer toilet. We were only 30 minutes from the holiday resort that the chaps were staying in, so it was decided that he would try and hold out. We put him in the lead though, just in case.
Poppy gave me a bit of a scare by not starting straight away but she got there after a few turns of the key and we were off again. The exit from the garage joined the road after a set of traffic lights and Gar and Phil nearly killed themselves when they exited. I waited until the lights turned green and the rest of the convoy re-joined the road at a more sedate pace. Gar and Phil didn’t wait though. Luckily, I had the destination programed into Gladys the sat nav and we pulled into the New Forest resort, “Sandy Balls? No. I always walk like this”. Yes, It really is called that. Well, nearly, and yes, we all sniggered like school boys every time the holiday resort was mentioned.
We pulled up in the “Sandy Balls? No. I always walk like this” car park and waited for Gar to book us all in. This took somewhat longer than expected as the “Sandy Balls? No. I always walk like this” staff wouldn’t accept the booking without the “Booking.Com” reference number that Gar hadn’t bought with him. An hour later we made it to the caravan.
To call the “Sandy Balls? No. I always walk like this” accommodation "a caravan” grossly understates the opulence that greeted us when we opened the door. Comfy sofas, fully stocked kitchen including a dishwasher and digitally controlled climate control that no one could operate until young Paul Cheetham arrived. Gar had already bagged the double room which turned out to be a whole wing of the building. A huge super king size double bed and an en-suite BATH room. Yes, a massive bath in a caravan! He’d done quite well for himself. Even the bath had more room than the Holivan Junior 8 that is Gar’s normal accommodation on tour. Windy Sweet Kitten and Berbo had 2 single cots stuffed in a broom cupboard. They weren’t quite as pleased as Gar was.
We decided to leave the chaps to explore the “Sandy Balls? No. I always walk like this” stately home and set off to check into our weekend accommodation. No, not a tent. Mrs FB insisted on accommodation with a proper roof and beds if she was going to grace us with her presence. Gar had excelled himself by booking us into a rather nice B&B with the rather less amusing name of “Little Forest Lodge”. It was beautiful. We were welcomed with complimentary tea and homemade banana cake while we checked in, and if it wasn’t for the single beds Gar had booked us, it would have been very romantic. (In his defence, he had booked it for Phil and Paul before I hijacked the booking)
We all met up again at the Compasses, where Nick and Jo were staying, for an exceptional dinner only spoilt by all of us imagining Tosh Brook’s Yorkshire exclamation of “Ow Mooch!” when we looked at the menu. We had to imagine it, as Tosh hadn’t bothered turning up for this one because the New Forest is a long way from Doncaster. I know - what a lightweight! This also meant that we were touring without the comfort blanket of “Super Enthusiast Man” Gus Brooks. I have to say that we were all rather worried about the prospect of fixing our own breakdowns.
I say we all met up for dinner but Nick and Jo were late due to a “Hamlet moment”. Those of you who are old enough to remember tobacco advertising on TV will know Nick’s problem. For the rest of you, the electric window on the driver’s side of the Jensen had stuck in the open position. Have I mentioned that it was freezing cold and chucking it down with wet rain?
We were all extremely sympathetic to their plight and hardly laughed at all when 2 bedraggled, wet and cold people finally arrived at 9.40pm. We hardly laughed even more when they found out that the kitchen closed at 9.30pm and were no longer taking orders for food. However, Jo used her feminine charms on the chef and scared him into rustling up some nachos and a sandwich. (That was a direct quote from Nick when I asked how he got the food. Nothing to do with me. Honest Jo! No, really.)
The fun and laughter had to end as we all left for our respective accommodations for a good night’s sleep in preparation for meeting the Isle of Wight Jaguar boys in the “Sandy Balls? No. I always walk like this” car park the next morning, ready for the tour.
Oh, you may have noticed that Ian Woodward’s nickname has lengthened slightly to “Windy Sweet Kitten”. Well you have Sarah “Cup Cake” Woodward to thank for that after their romantic and moving Wedding Anniversary Facebook posts. (Oh No! I’ve just been a little bit sick in my mouth again!)
To be continued …
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